Friday, November 28, 2014

Old-fashioned ways

Yesterday, while eating Thanksgiving dinner with my family, I couldn't help but ponder some of our customs and old-fashioned ways. For instance, how certain foods are made. With no deviations, Mom and I pretty much make dishes the same way since time began. The background music during dinner, old time records, yes, vinyl, my father lovingly brought to the house for us all to enjoy. These records have cracks, chips, some of them skip uncontrollably, but they all evoke memories. How can I not hear Percy Faith's "Carol of the Bells" and not get a bit choked up, thinking back to years ago, my brother and I as younger kids and the warmth of our family home?

It's this very warmth I want to talk about today. For several years I've been writing books. I have this blog, The Finches Nest, Inspirational Stories and I also have a story going pretty much all the time either in my head, or on my laptop. What I've hoped to convey over the years are heartfelt, old-fashioned stories.

Take for instance my book called "Reflections From my Mother's Kitchen." It's just that: a memoir-based tale, though fiction, but evoking all the warmth and memories of my mother's old-fashioned kitchen and old time customs. Things my son and his generation may never understand.

In this world of fast paced cell phone, i-pad technology, I'd like the younger people to take a moment and bask in some good old-fashioned warmth.

I recently got this very kind editorial review of my book "Piggy." What I've hoped to tell with this book is a story of friendship, honor, fun, adventure and good old-fashioned values. I feel these may be traits that I see sadly lacking in today's television and movies. Take a look:

Editorial Reviews


Reviewed By Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite

Piggy by Karen Malena is a delightful story involving a cat and a mouse and their unusual friendship. Goober, a mother cat, has an adopted kitten, Peanut, and she entertains him by telling him the story of Piggy the cat and a mouse named Melvin. The story involves an assortment of other animals and takes the reader on a journey into the animal world. In a clever twist, Peanut finds out that the story his mother is telling him has far more meaning than he expected, and that someone close to him is involved in a way he had not imagined. The idea of the mother cat soothing her restless kitten with a story is charming, and the story itself is captivating.

This is a clever story that, although probably aimed at middle-grade age, would be lovely read to a younger child by a parent. I also think older children and even adults would enjoy the story and the antics of the animals. The author, Karen Malena, has done a really good job of weaving in a few life lessons. The fact that a cat and a mouse can be friends shows the importance of friendships and helping one another, even though the perception would be that they would be enemies. This is a gentle book with a story that is fun and enjoyable and also an exciting adventure. It's also about caring for one another and not always taking things on face value. I think it would make a perfect bedtime story where the reader could explain the story and its interpretations to a younger child.
This reader saw in my story exactly what I wished to convey. I'm very pleased to see such kind words. It is my hope that you, too, will take a moment, whether you're an e-book reader, or enjoy paperback, and pick up a copy of "Piggy" today. In time for the holidays, it's 25% off on my publisher's site. 

Let's bring back the heart of good old fashioned stories! Enjoy a good book today!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Family: The gift of Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches I want to take some time to list my gratitude.

I am grateful for being raised in a family that cares about others. A family where my mother taught us children about respect for the elderly, for those less fortunate and for animals. A mother who once called me her shining star and would have done anything for me when I was faced with serious surgery as a young teenager. A woman who's battled deepest depression and found the will to go on in her darkest moments. A woman who can still laugh heartily.

I am grateful for a father who taught me about patience, resilience and a sense of humor. A man who didn't give up in the heat of life's toughest moments, who honors the sanctity of marriage and  his wedding vows. An unselfish man who is soft-spoken and kind, gentle and good.

I am grateful for a husband who calls me his best friend. A man who tells me almost daily how glad he is that we met later in life and he doesn't know what he would have done without me. A husband who respects me, listens to me even when I rattle on and on about some infraction that may seem boring to him, yet he gives me his time. A man I enjoy taking trips with, laughing with and praying with. A man who is not perfect, but loves God with his whole heart.

I am grateful for my son. He's taught me about life and never giving up. He's shown me that I could love so unconditionally until it hurts. During some of the toughest moments when I thought my heart would break over things he's had to go through, I learned that my love for him is one of the deepest emotions a mother could feel. I am grateful for our ability to talk with one another, enjoy each others company, and share stories together.

I am grateful for a brother who is one of the most selfless people I know. A man who would put others before his own needs. A man I've called best friend many times in my life. Though he came along fourteen years after me, I am grateful for our closeness and confiding in one another.

I am who I am because of these amazing people. Each of them with so much to offer this world. Each of them a part of the makeup of my life, my self and all that I am. I am blessed, honored, and yes, so very grateful for each of them.

There are countless others in my life, step-children, friends, cousins, aunts and uncles and my beautiful nieces who have meant the world to me. They, too, have contributed to the fabric of my life, the gratefulness I feel at this time of the year. I give you all my love each and every one of you and wish you the true gift of Thanksgiving in your own lives.